Science Scope

Packaged food raises levels of BPA in people

Posting in Food

It's better to eat fresh food.

As I'm reading the news that packaged food raises levels of bisphenol-A (BPA) in the body, I am pealing away the package lining to a peanut butter bar and sipping on sparkling water from a plastic water bottle. I would have been better off eating an apple and drinking water out of a glass.

We are all exposed to BPA to some extent if our diet includes canned and processed foods. When BPA  leaches out from our food packaging and plastic bottles and remains in our body...that's when the trouble occurs. Unfortunately, exposure to the hormone disrupting chemical has been associated with heart disease, diabetes and liver failure. But we can fix that risk, simply by reducing our exposure to BPA.

In the journal called Environmental Health Perspectives, scientists reported their findings of BPA exposure. Basically, the scientists asked five families in San Francisco to stop using canned and packaged foods.

After the families stored their food in only glass and stainless steel containers, their levels of BPA dropped by 60 percent in a couple of days. BPA is metabolized rather quickly in the body. But as soon as the families went back to their old eating habits, their levels of BPA increased.

In response to the study, the American Chemical Society issued this statement:

“This study simply confirms these reassuring points: that consumers have minute exposures to BPA and DEHP from food sources, and that the substances do not stay in the body, but are quickly eliminated through natural means. Additionally, data from U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Health Canada have shown that typical consumer exposure to BPA and DEHP, from all sources, is up to 1,000 times lower than government-established safe exposure levels."

So don't freak out, just yet.

The San Francisco Chronicle provided some good tips on how to reduce your BPA exposure: Don't heat food in plastic containers and don't eat canned foods with high BPA concentrations like coconut milk.

Really? Ugh, coconut milk is my comfort food.

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Boonsri Dickinson

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Boonsri Dickinson is a freelance journalist based in San Francisco. She has written for Discover, The Huffington Post, Forbes, Nature Biotech, Technewsdaily.com, Techstartups.com and AOL. She's currently a reporter for Business Insider. She holds degrees from the University of Florida and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure